Official name: Republic of Burundi
Area: 27,834 km²
Residents: approx. 12.4 million (2018)
Growth of population: 3.23% (2018, estimated)
Seat of government: Gitega (capitals Bujumbura / Gitega)
Official languages: Kirundi, French, English
Regional language: Swahili (in Bujumbura and on Lake Tanganyika)
Government Efforts and Safeguards
Lately attempts have been made to implement newer regulations. Reducing illegal logging activities, improving agricultural practices and introducing ecological management measures are major challenges for government and rural development cooperation. Protecting the soil is an important goal. Also are strategies in the fight against poverty and soil degradation and to create new fields of activity outside of agriculture. Recently, international influences have also led to activities aimed at curbing severe deforestation. However, the consequences of a rigid ban policy in the forestry sector are quickly overlooked. The local charcoal traders are severely affected by a ban on deforestation and responded with a strike. However, state efforts are nowhere near enough. In the absence of a clear national land policy, pressure on the Burundian environment will increase as the population continues to grow. There is a clear connection between environmental degradation and land conflicts.
Overall, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has ambitious plans to support Burundi in various areas, including the environmental sector. The Burundian government has recognized that long-term development can only be guaranteed by preserving the landscape and biodiversity, but sustainable activities in the area of environmental protection are still in their infancy. The Vision Burundi 2025 and the Convention sur la diversité biologique as well as the initiative to preserve the bird world set ambitious goals for nature conservation, but the lack of human resources and an overall relatively low level of awareness for environmental issues delay activities to conserve biodiversity in Burundi. A center in Bujumbura that was set up specifically to preserve biodiversity has so far been largely limited to presenting the reasons for the worrying environmental and ecological problems in the country and shows little current activity. The Burundais Office pour la Protection de l´Environnement (OBPE), founded in 2014, also acts. Here strategies are to be developed to protect the environment. Studies are currently being carried out in various regions into the effects of climate change and parallel measures to raise awareness among the population, which are intended to encourage farmers to reforest degraded soils. Here is that too GIZ active. In addition, COMIFAC (= Commission des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale) is active in Burundi. Due to the difficult political situation since 2015, activities in the nature conservation sector are classified as less important than other more urgent measures and accordingly little implemented. The proposed ban on plastic bags from 2020, which was adopted in August 2018, can be seen as a positive foray into environmentally relevant efforts.
Justice, Security and Military
According to physicscat, the constitution of Burundi provides for an independent judiciary. The Constitutional Court (Cour Constitutionnelle) and the Supreme Court (Cour Suprême) are the highest authorities. The military court (Cour militaire) hears crimes committed by soldiers or the military. The police – the Police Nationale / PN – and the secret service – Service National de Renseignement / SNR are responsible for internal security in Burundi. The police and judiciary in Burundi are badly affected by corruption. Human rights violations by the state security organs are the order of the day in a climate of violent crime and a lack of regulatory structures. The “justice de proximité” plays a special role in Burundi, a kind of neighborhood justice or local justice. The problem is vigilante justice or “mob justice”, where individuals are persecuted, tortured or murdered by private persons for small crimes such as theft without official bodies being informed or involved.
The military (Forces de Défense Nationale, FDN) is divided into the army and the national gendarmerie. After the Arusha peace agreement in 2000, the military and police in Burundi were reorganized, although we can only speak of a real turning point from 2003 onwards. In 2001, a government-supported self-defense program was also launched to assist rural populations in the event of rebel raids. The restructuring of the army, which had been dominated by Tutsi for decades, was problematic and the police. Since the police and the military should also be ethnically balanced, a restructuring was necessary from this point of view. From 2004 onwards, demobilization, disarmament and reintegration began tens of thousands of combatants started. In 2008 and 2009 fighters from the FNL militia were integrated into the regular armed forces, which should guarantee a lasting peace and prevent further fighting. However, reintegration presents the country with enormous challenges: a lack of prospects, unemployment, land disputes and poverty are direct consequences of these activities, which are vital for peace. At the same time, reintegration is expensive and the government is heavily dependent on foreign or international aid. The GIZ supports the Burundian police in effectiveness and citizen responsibility.
As in many African countries, the existence of child soldiers in Burundi and their disarmament and reintegration are particularly problematic. Often they no longer find their place in society and are severely affected by poverty, trauma and disorientation. Here, too, progress can often only be made with international support.
Burundi provides foreign troops in Darfur / Sudan and in other African countries and is involved with over 2000 soldiers in the AU peace mission in Somalia, which is dangerous for the soldiers.
The army seems to have been torn since 2015. Its composition of ex-CNDD combatants, the former (Tutsi) army of Presidents Micombero, Bagaza, Buyoya and former FNL rebels, the difficult political situation since 2015 and internal problems of preferential treatment and marginalization put the army to the test.